The NBA has sleeved-jersey fever. What was once a curious one-off marketing ploy is now a fully fledged marketing ploy, with various teams wearing new sleeved get-ups on random weekdays when the opponents go with the classic sleeveless look. The jerseys are here to stay, quality sales or not, and the many players who seem not to like them better get used to the new reality.
Sleeved jerseys are now so prevalent that the most tradition-minded team in the NBA has decided to give them a try. The Boston Celtics unveiled their version of the sleeved uniform, branded as "Parquet Pride," on Thursday night. Take a look at their introductory video:
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 7, 2014
And here's a more stationary look via an Adidas press release:
The jerseys use a gray base color, like many iterations of the sleeved look. The most obvious point of departure is the use of green straps around the shoulders. The Celtics also introduced a green clover logo patch at the center of the waist as a pop of color.
OK, that's enough on details. Your fashion opinion may differ, but the immediate consensus reaction to the uniforms was not positive. The green straps received the most common criticism:
These Celtics alternates make them look like they’re wearing backpacks: pic.twitter.com/tRhKPoSa9O
— Andrew Ungvari (@DrewUnga) November 7, 2014
The overall drab look wasn't especially popular, either:
"Man, those Celtics sweatsuits are real gaudy." "Uhm... those are jerseys." "..."
— Holding Court (@holdingcourtpod) November 7, 2014
Most of all, there was a sense that the new-ish sleeved look doesn't jibe with the Celtics' rich history:
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) November 7, 2014
It's that last point that hits hardest. For whatever aesthetic arguments can be made against these uniforms — like, say, that the green stripes create the illusion of no sleeves with a bizarre continuance of said sleeves — the real problem is that the Celtics are a notable franchise in part because they cherish their heritage like few others. Gray sleeved jerseys featuring random pops of green don't feel very Celtics — it's like if a bored 12-year-old imagined their uniforms for 2032, when half the players in the roster will be extraterrestrials (the current team boasts one, Rajon Rondo).
The Celtics apparently identified the need to connect these uniforms to their history, because they will be worn on six dates that connect to important moments in franchise lore. The first, on November 28, marks roughly the 25th anniversary of Larry Bird scoring his 25,000th career point. Others include the 30th anniversary of Red Auerbach's No. 2 jersey retirement ceremony, the 55th anniversary of Bill Russell's 51-rebound game, and the 50th anniversary of the famous "Havlicek stole the ball!" highlight.
No matter how unfortunate the sleeved jerseys may look, at least fans will get to remember some important moments in Celtics history when they see them. Most franchises couldn't even come up with six anniversaries to serve as silver linings.
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